Saturday, November 20, 2010

Final Vote Counts, Del Mar Fairgrounds & The Mouth

ALL VOTES COUNTED
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters web site, all the votes have now been counted, but not yet certified. Assuming that the final numbers - there are "0" left to be counted - will be certified, here's how the races of local interest ended up.






As you can see, nothing has changed since the last numbers I gave you. Jim Fisler holds a 66 vote lead over Dan Worthington in one of the Mesa Consolidated Water District races and Mike Scheafer defeated Arlene Schafer by over 400 votes for the final seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District.

None of the percentages changed in the Costa Mesa City Council race. Jim Righeimer and Wendy Leece won the two available seats and Chris McEvoy tallied 10,846 votes (26.4%) to finish 3rd. There are more than a few people in the community that think his strong showing should qualify him to replace Katrina Foley if, and when, she resigns next month.

Costa Mesa Measure L, the 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax was passed with 5
2% of the votes.

Newport Beach Measure V, the controversial charter amendment issue, won handily, with 61.5% of the voters voting Yes.

The races should be certified before the end of the month. I know from conversations with folks in the Registrar's office that their goal is to have them certified before Thanksgiving.

DEL MAR FAIRGROUNDS ALSO UP FOR GRABS
As the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds continues to be filled with high drama I thought you'd like to know that we are not alone. The Del Mar Fairgrounds is in
play - the City of Del Mar is trying to buy it from the State for $120,000 and every bit as much turmoil surrounds this deal as has been the case with the Orange County Fairgrounds. You can read all about it in an article from the North County Times, HERE.

"THE MOUTH" SPOUTS OFF AGAIN

Finally, a
t the risk of giving you an upset stomach just before Thanksgiving, I must address some misinformation being presented by our municipal horses fanny and racist laureate, The Mouth From Mesa North. In his pathetic blog today he addresses a letter of mine that appeared in the Daily Pilot in print today (online yesterday), making light of the fact that Jim Righeimer's brother-in-law, Mark Bucher, threatened me and members of the Costa Mesa Police Association with legal action if we mentioned three items in connection with his client/brother-in-law. You can read my letter HERE - fortunately, it's the very first one in a long string of letters in the paper so you don't have to go wading very far to read it. The Mouth, who tells us from time to time that he's a lawyer and a whole bunch of other things, pretends to understand this issue, even though he admits to not having seen the letter in question. Of course, ignorance of an issue has never stopped him from blathering on and on about it in the past, so we shouldn't be surprised when he does so now.

BUCHER'S THREAT

The fact is, Bucher threatened me in writing with legal action if I discussed bankruptcy, being drunk in public and foreclosure when writing about hi
s client. I had written about the rumors of Righeimer's bankruptcy a couple years ago, following a long conversation with him. The upshot of that conversation was that I heard Righeimer out, believed what he said and had not written about it since. I had no intention of writing about him or anyone else being drunk in public, nor had I plans to write about any foreclosure that may or may not have occurred.

RIGHEIMER SPOKE ABOUT BANKRUPTCY

However, Righeimer, within a couple days of that letter being delivered, openly spoke about the bankruptcy issue himself. So, I figure all bets are off. If I knew anything factual about that or the other issues I felt compl
etely comfortable about writing about them.

THE MOUTH SPREAD LIES ABOUT MCEVOY

The Mouth, and other Righeimer boosters, then proceeded to spread lies and innuendo about Chris McEvoy involving his driving record in which they consistently lied about the facts. The Mouth never lets truth be an impediment to his goals.




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Friday, November 19, 2010

City Solicits Candidates for Council, Commission Slots

CLOCK IS TICKING ON APPLICATION PROCESS
Late this evening the City of Costa Mesa announced the solicitation of candidates for open positions on the three main governmental bodies - City Council, Planning Commission and Parks & Recreation Commission.


FOLEY - WILL SHE OR WON'T SHE?
The vacancy on the council will occur on December 14th, when councilwoman Katrina Foley resigns to take the seat on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board she won in the recent election, unseating incumbent Michael Collier. Foley has played coy recently and got into a heated discussion with Mayor Allan Mansoor at his last council meeting on Tuesday when he pushed her for a firm statement of her intentions. She sparred with him, but didn't give in. It has been widely assumed that the law on this issue will force her to abandon one seat or the other, but she implied that might not be the case. We don't know if she was being stubborn just to yank Mansoor's chain one final time, or if she is still undecided about her decision. Regardless, she will still be on the council on December 7th when Jim Righeimer is seated and Wendy Leece is reaffirmed and will participate in the selection of a new mayor and mayor pro tem.

MENSINGER OR ?...
Some folks around town assume that Righeimer crony and personal pal, planning commissioner Steve Mensinger, has the inside track on this seat. Others prominently mentioned are planning commissioners Colin McCarthy and Jim Fitzpatrick. Many people in the community think Foley's vacancy should be filled by Chris McEvoy, who finished a close 3rd in the recent election. Their reasoning is that the electorate has made its views known by casting nearly 11,000 votes - more than 26% - for McEvoy and, while not a "mandate", it is a clear statement by the people of this community and should be honored.

CANDIDATES - SEND LETTERS BY DEADLINE
Candidates for Foley's vacancy on the City Council should send a letter of interest, and a resume if available, by the deadline. (See Below)

3 SEATS ON PLANNING AND PARKS COMMISSIONS
There are at least 3 seats available on the Planning Commission and Parks & Recreation Commission. Interested parties are encouraged to complete an application, and include a resume if possible, for the council's consideration. The application form can be found at the City website, HERE.


WHERE TO SEND YOUR APPLICATIONS
All applications and correspondence should be sent to: Costa Mesa City Council, P.O. Box 1200, Costa Mesa, California 92628-1200 or bring it to City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, City Manager's Office by 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 17, 2010. Applicants are advised that their applications must be disclosed to the public upon request. For additional information contact the City Manager's office at 714-754-5328.

FINAL ELECTION RESULTS PENDING
A check of the Orange County Registrar of Voters site after 5:00 p.m. tonight shows there are still more than 400 votes to be counted county-wide. The numbers will be updated again at 5:00 tomorrow. Until all votes are counted and certified by the Registrar the results shown on the site are unofficial. No significant changes have occurred in local races in the past 24 hours. I'll post the final, official results when they are available.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top Costa Mesa Cops Placed On Leave


ROEDER PLACES SHAWKEY AND SMITH ON LEAVE
The Daily Pilot, in an article by Joseph Serna, reported at 6:00 p.m. tonight that Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder has placed Police Chief Christopher Shawkey and Captain Ron Smith on Administrative Leave - without further explanation. Captain Les Gogerty, the remaining senior officer on the force, will assume command on an interim basis. You can read that brief article HERE.

SHOCKIN
G NEWS!
This is stunning news and, according to sources within the police department, completely unexpected. No indication has been given for the two most senior officers to be placed on leave at the same time, leaving us only to speculate on the potential reasons. It is unlikely that Roeder will address this at all because it's a personnel matter and subject to very strict rules about protection of individual rights. You will recall that this is the same line provided when Finance Director Marc Puckett departed mysteriously a couple years ago.

COMMAND STAFF DECIMATED
My initial reaction, once the epithets cleared the air, was shock, then concern for our city. This leaves us with no Fire Chief, no Police Chief (and only one senior command officer) and a C
ity Manager who is only a couple months from retirement. And, the shriveled cherry on top of that dung sundae is the new City Council that will be sworn in by the first of the year.

ROEDER REQUESTS NO COMMENTS FROM PD
Roeder, in his message to the police force today, requested that no comments be made about this issue, so we will be left to speculate about just what kind of horrendous event would prompt the City Manager to place these men on administrative leave. Shawkey is fairly new to the department, coming to us from Phoenix. Ron Smith is an old hand in the department.

WHERE'S THE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT?
There has been no official announcement to the public on this matter, which causes me some degree of concern. Whether Roeder can or will talk about it, the public has a right to know that the senior command staff of their police department has been placed on leave.



RANK AND FILE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN GOGERTY

Those sources within the police department that would speak about this issue also seemed concerned about the command vacuum being left, but simultaneously expressed confidence in Captain Gogerty's ability to handle the responsibilities placed on his shoulders tonight. That's good news from where I sit.

MORE TO FOLLOW...

I'll follow-up to see if there is any more information available and will, of course, be in touch with Roeder tomorrow.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

City Council Meeting Wrap-up

SAD NIGHT FOR SCHAFER
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night had some highs and lows. I already posted my thoughts about the rejection of Wendy Leece's proposal to replace her, Leece, with Arlene Schafer on the Orange County Vector Control Board on my previous entry. There were lots of other interesting things, though.

SOBBING MANSOOR SAYS GOOD-BYE, FINALLY
For example, early in the proceedings during Council Membe
r Comments, Allan Mansoor took the opportunity to thank many people who have helped him over the past 8 years, barely making it through his comments without a full-on cry. Last night was his final meeting as a council member - he'll be sworn in as the State Assemblyman for the 68th District on December 6th. The crowd in the auditorium gave him a standing ovation, which I'm sure he interpreted as recognition of his contributions to the city. I was not there, but I suspect at least a few of those folks were cheering because we won't be infested with his brainless mutterings and robotic following of the directions given him by Orange County Republican Party overlords.

MIXED BLESSING
Actually, Mansoor leaving is a mixed blessing. On the positive side we "lose" a council member who has not been very smart and not very effective. On the negative side, we replace him with at least one new member, depending on whether Katrina Foley actually resigns her seat, with the same lock-step ideology in the person of the cunning, well-connected and finally-elected Jim Righeimer. Righeimer is no dummy and has the potential to do much, much more damage to our city than Mansoor had on his worst day. It will be even worse if Foley does, in fact, bail out and one of Righeimer's cronies - frat boy Steve Mensinger, for example - is appointed to replace her. I'm going to be one busy guy trying to keep track of potential Brown Act violations!

I'LL MISS THE SPARING

I will also miss the sparing between Foley and Mansoor - she who can
craft an argument with precision and he, who has a hard time even reading the words he's written. She continued to yank his chain right up to the very end last night - and it made me smile. So, without a tear in my eye, I bid Allan Mansoor a not-so-fond adieu and hope he enjoys the utility room assigned to him by Assembly Speaker John Lopez as an office.

GA
RCIA RECYCLING PERMITS REVOKED
The council decided to yank the conditional use permit for Garcia Recycling, forcing that business out of business unless they can find a satisfactory place to relocate within 90 days. I understand the problem - the business has grown beyond all expectations over the last 20 years and has apparently made the lives of neighbors very difficult, with noise and overflow traffic. Based on what Garcia's lawyer said - and the way he said it - I'm sure we're going to see legal action on this decision.

"DISORDERLY CONDUCT" TO FEED CRITTERS AT TEWINKLE PARK
(Thanks to a loyal reader for this photo - his vision of the "New" TeWinkle Park Lake)
The council also voted to make feeding fish and fowl at TeWinkle Park a "disorderly conduct" offense. They were between a rock and a hard place on this one. The staff report and presentation made it clear that something simply had to be done to fix the problem. Because folks overfeed the critters there is an over-abundance of "fecal matter" in the lake. The water circulation system that was installed to help resolve the problem has been severely damaged by folks fishing in the lake - fish lines snag on the PVC pipes, which are then broken when the lines are yanked. People wade in the water and break the lines, too. The pumps get clogged by plastic bags and other debris and it recently cost over $40,000 to repair them. The City has over $1 million invested in restoring the lake and there are few inexpensive options to keep it operating.

A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE

Based on what I heard last night, the City failed to communicate the nature of this problem to the neighbors in Mesa Del Mar. Foley called for a cadre of volunteers - docents - to patrol the lake and advise visitors not to feed the critters and/or fish in the lake. She suggested installing feeding stations with coin-operated dispensaries to provide small amounts of food and forbid folks from dragging bags of stale Wonder Bread to the lake to feed the critters. Mansoor rejected that idea - he likes the idea of folks bringing leftover pastries and moldy bread to the park and the wrappers fouling the pumps.

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES BUDGET ITEMS CONTINUED
The council "continued" the items dealing with the Administrative Services budget - th
e Downtown Pool and Youth Flag Football among them - until its meeting of December 7th.

WHO'S REPLACING FOLEY? IS SHE LEAVING?
One of the fun parts of the night for me was the discussion of the process by which Foley, if she leaves, will be replaced on the City Council, which extended to the replacements on the Planning and Parks & Recreation Commissions, too. Mansoor was almost apoplectic on this issue, accusing Foley of refusing to commit right then and there to her departure plans, or lack thereof. She just let him rant and bluster, but didn't ever answer the question about whether she will actually give up her council seat when she's sworn in to the School Board on December 14th. Regardless, we know there is at least one vacancy, Righeimer's, on the Planning Commission and others will expire in January. Same with the Parks & Recreation Commission. Mansoor wanted the council to include in it's agenda item a discussion of combining both commissions. The meeting of December 7th is going to be a fun-packed affair because City Manager Allan Roeder reminded the council at, upon seating Righeimer, the council will then elect a Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. Foley will get to participate in that process because she will still be on the council. Ya gotta love it!

INOPERABLE CARS ON DRIVEWAYS ARE NOW ILLEGAL
And, those of you who have inoperable cars parked on your driveway - your days
are numbered. The council majority - Leece and Foley voting No - has decided that you are terrible persons, contributing to the blight of your neighborhoods and your irresponsibility in doing what you wish on your own property is unacceptable in Costa Mesa. Now that piece of junk (or family treasure) under that tarp on your driveway will have to go into your garage or in your back yard, behind a 6 foot fence. Get ready, folks... this is just the beginning. This issue was generated by the Jim Righeimer Planning Commission and he's jumping up to the big seat next month, probably dragging along one of his cronies. They will not be happy unless they completely remake Costa Mesa into a pseudo-Irvine - except without all those darn liberals! I suggest you make a list of the rights you have now that makes this city the place you wish to live, work and play, then watch to see how many of them are stripped from you in the next four years.

THE NEXT IS THE LAST...
The next council meeting, on December 7th, will be the final one of the year. It will include the seating of Righeimer, the election of a new mayor and mayor pro tem and we just might have some indication of where we stand budget-wise. I want to think 2011 is going to be a better year, but...

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Schafer Denied Vector Control Board Seat!



COUNCIL REJECTS SCHAFER
At its meeting tonight, the final item discussed was Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece's proposal for her to step down from the Orange County Vector Control Board so Arlene Schafer could be appointed. Schafer's appointment was rejected by a 3-2 vote, with only Leece and Gary Monahan voting in favor of the appointment.


WILL COST HER THE LAFCO SEAT, TOO

Schafer is presently the President of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and, as a member of that
organization, she's been representing Costa Mesa on several other boards and committees for decades. During her pitch tonight Leece emphasized that Schafer, by losing her Sanitary District seat to Mike Scheafer in the recent election, ceases to be eligible for the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). By appointing her to the OCVCB seat representing Costa Mesa she would have remained eligible for the LAFCO position, too.

A LIFE-CHANGING EVENT FOR SCHAFER
I've included Schafer's biographical summary currently contained on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District web site below. As you read through it you realize what a dedicated member of the Costa Mesa community Schafer has been for a long, long time. With this re
jection her life will change dramatically and our community will lose the services of one of its most loyal and active supporters.

"QUICK PITCH" PROCESS FLAWED
I understand the vote tonight. It was clear that Eric Bever and Allan Mansoor both had strong reservations about the process, as did Katrina Foley. This seemed like a "quick pitch" by Leece, orchestrated by Schafer when she contacted Leece to ask her to step down from her OCVCB seat and nominate her, Schafer, to replace her on it. It certainly was an unusual move.


CHANGING OF THE GUARD
I find it ironic that Mansoor, in his last official vote as a Costa Mesa Councilman and
Mayor, gives a stiff-arm to one of the pillars of the community. Some will view this as a changing of the guard, with the last vestige of municipal governance from two decades ago shoved aside for what some in the community anticipate being a Jim Righeimer-dominated government for the next decade.

WE WISH HER WELL
We here at A Bubbling C
auldron wish Arlene Schafer well, thank her for her years of service and certainly hope she will continue to find ways to support our community. Heck, she might even apply for the possible council vacancy to be created by Katrina Foley's departure next month! Wouldn't that be fun.

MORE ON THE COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW
I'll provide a more detailed wrap-up of the council m
eeting tonight some time tomorrow, Wednesday.

ARLENE SCHAFER'S BIO

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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Curious Late Addition To The Council Agenda

A LATE ADDITION TO TUESDAY'S AGENDA
Checking my email late Monday night I found a new announcement for Tuesday's City Council meeting agenda waiting for me, generated by the City system after close of business today. Strange, I thought to myself, since the agenda is already packed with fun stuff as mentioned in my earlier post today. So, I went to the link and found a new item added at the very end of the agenda. This item, New Business #3, reads as follows on the agenda: "Consider appointment of Arlene Schafer as Costa Mesa’s representative to the Board of the Orange County Vector Control District (OCVCD) for the next two years."

ARLENE SCHAFER TO VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT BOARD?
When you go to the staff repor
t, HERE, you will find that Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece has requested this item to be considered earlier than is necessary. Leece is currently the Costa Mesa representative on the Orange County Vector Control District Board. Schafer is presently the President of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board, but it looks like she will be nudged off that board by Mike Scheafer, who leads by more than 400 votes with very few left to count tonight.

WHAT'S THE URGENCY?
I don't have anything against Schafer, who has demonstrated her devotion to Costa Mesa through decades of public service on various boards and committees, including tours as Mayor and Council Member. I just find myself wondering why the urgency on this issue? The decision on this subject - the appointment of Costa M
esa's representative on the OCVCD - would normally be scheduled for next month. So, what's the big rush to get this done? Is it because Jim Righeimer will take his seat on the council at the next meeting and he might have his own ideas about who should replace Leece? I hope those of us who watch the meeting tomorrow will get a satisfactory answer. Apparently it will take a 4/5 vote of the council to address this issue Tuesday.

NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES AS VOTE COUNTING CONTINUES

Speaking of election results, not much has changed. As mentioned above, Scheafer has widened his lead over Schafer to more than 400 votes in the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Race.


FISLER HOLDS SLIM LEAD OVER WORTHINGTON

Jim Fisler's lead over Dan Worthington in the Mesa Consolidated Water District race remains a thin 59 votes with just over 6,000 total votes remaining to be counted county-wide. It looks like we might have the final numbers before Thanksgiving if they continue counting at the current pace.

WILL FITZPATRICK HOLD TWO
SEATS?
By the way, no word yet on whether Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick will be forced to give up that seat because he was elected to the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board. At the very tail end of the Planning Commission meeting Monday night Fitzpatrick stopped Righeimer before he adjourned his final meeting to thank him for his leadership. He said, "Honestly, I don't think I could have done some of the things I did over the last year without your help." One nice, big, final smooch planted firmly on Righeimer's fanny as they go their separate ways. How very touching...

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